It’s the fourteenth day of April, the tragic day in 1912 that the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and eventually sank.
Just over 700 people survived, out of thousands on board.
One of those survivors, Violet Jessop, would live through three shipwrecks in all.
Jessop was in her early twenties when she began working at sea as a stewardess for the Royal Mail Line.
In 1911, she was working on the Royal Mail Ship Olympic when another ship, HMS Hawke, hit it, causing damage but fortunately no injuries.
The following year, she signed up to work on Titanic.
Because she was a stewardess Jessop might not have been a priority for rescue, but she was needed to help get passengers safely off the sinking ship and onto lifeboats.
That’s where she and others waited for hours until the rescue ship, RMS Carpathia, arrived.
That would be enough to put many of us off ships for good, but Violet Jessop continued working at sea, ending up with the British Red Cross during World War I.
Only four years after surviving the sinking of the Titanic, she was in another shipwreck, when the HMHS Britannic, a luxury liner turned hospital ship, struck a mine.
This time the lifeboats weren’t an option, because they were being pulled in by the ship’s propellers.
So she swam, hitting her head on the keel and suffering a serious head injury.
Still, Violet Jessop continued working at sea until 1950, and wrote a memoir about her astonishing life and career.
But fortunately she didn’t have any more shipwrecks after that.
Three, after all, is more than enough for anyone.
Normally, we mark the birthdays of people we talk about on this show, but here’s one where it’s appropriate to begin at the end.
In Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, you’ll find a large grey tombstone for Elijah Jefferson Bond, who died 100 years ago today.
Bond, you see, patented the Ouija board – and if you go around to the back of the stone, you’ll find a Ouija board layout!
The story of Violet Constance Jessop (UK National Archives)
A Woman to Know: Violet Jessop (A Woman To Know)
One Of The Most Unique Tombstones In The World Is Right Here In Maryland (Only In Maryland)
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Violet Jessop photo via Wikicommons